Micro-Review: When You Grow Up to Vote by Eleanor Roosevelt, Michelle Markel, & Grace Lin

When You Grow Up to Vote Book by Eleanor Roosevelt.jpeg

The great novelty of When You Grow Up to Vote, a primer on American civics for school-age children, is that it is written by Eleanor Roosevelt, who penned the guide way back in 1932.

And even though Ms. Roosevelt created this guidebook almost one-hundred years ago, it feels surprisingly evergreen if not completely relevant for the young readers who will soon be responsible for electing our future leaders.

"Someday... you are going to vote,” writes Ms. Roosevelt. “You will help choose men and women to govern the country. But to vote well you will need to know about a great many things, interesting things.”

In a democracy, there are many people who work for us, explains Ms. Roosevelt. Indeed, everyone from the local garbage collector to the President are highlighted in this title, as well as simple, straightforward explanations to complicated questions: Why do we have laws in the first place? And: what, exactly, does a judge do?

Michelle Markel has re-packaged the content with back matter that sheds light on important issues that have emerged in the last century, including spotlights on gerrymandering and the electoral college — legal loopholes and hold-overs that heavily favor one political party at the expense of the populace.

“Government is like a game,” writes Ms. Roosevelt. “ If you do not know the rules, or what each player is supposed to do, it is dull, but as soon as you understand what is going on, it can get very exciting.”


When You Grow Up to Vote: How Our Government Works for You By Eleanor Roosevelt, Michelle Markel, & Grace Lin (Illustrator), published by Roaring Brook Press (2018)

Find this title in your local independent bookshop.